Straw Eyes Returns

It’s tough believing some forty years passed before someone churned out a sequel to Frank De Felitta’s haunting Dark Night of the Scarecrow. We may now know the reason why. Dark Night of the Scarecrow 2 is a dull and lumbering follow-up which pays homage to the original made-for-television horror movie. A few cheesy moments of terror aside, the scattershot sequel is a combination of poor scripting and uneven acting.

Airing on CBS in 1981, the stylish cult gem popularized the idea of scarecrows coming to life and wreaking havoc. Larry Drake’s memorable turn as a mentally challenged man killed by rednecks, returning from the grave as a murderous scarecrow, helped create a whole sub-genre in horror. It helped inspire such macabre gems as Scarecrows in the 1980s.

Dark Night of the Scarecrow 2 is an indie sequel hoping to reinvigorate or even start a new horror franchise

J.D. Feigelson’s Dark Night of the Scarecrow 2 is more a sequel in spirit than a direct follow-up to the original classic. Fleeting references to Larry Drake’s Bubba aside, a new cast of characters encounter yet another creepy scarecrow with a taste for human blood and vengeance. The low-budget movie has its heart in the right place but never really gets off the ground. A chaotic final act serves up plenty of half-baked kills and low-budget thrills.

Young mother Chris Rhymer (Amber Wedding) and her son Jeremy (Aiden Shurr) have recently moved to the rural countryside. The local police are investigating suspicious deaths and believe the new family may be involved. The mother holds a secret which threatens her family’s safety. The single mother entrusts daily care of Jeremy to a local resident they call Aunt Hildie.

Dark forces are brewing in the corn fields and the young boy is looking for solace. Is Jeremy’s imaginary friend a figment of his mind or have supernatural forces begun taking hold?

The biggest issue in Dark Night of the Scarecrow 2 is its plodding, slow-moving screenplay. The original TV classic avoided serious gore and carefully tread the line of supernatural terror, leaving the audience to wonder if the scarecrow was just a person seeking vengeance. Feigelson constructs his movie around an underwhelming twist ripped from criminal dramas. The plot also goes in a preposterous direction by the final act, destroying the established mood in a lazy b-movie turn.

I’m not sure fans of the original will be thrilled to see this mostly standalone sequel, which trades on the name for a cheap cash-in with limited effects and an erratic cast. Dark Night of the Scarecrow 2 is an indie sequel hoping to reinvigorate or even start a new horror franchise, but fails at generating any real heat or excitement about further movies.

Video

The 1.85:1 presentation from VCI reflects a low-budget indie production shot with decent clarity. The unprocessed video is mildly underwhelming, often flat and dull. Fine detail is fairly strong, especially in tighter shots. The color grading is amateurish, highlighted by a flashback scene referencing the original Bubba character from the first movie.

The main feature runs 84 minutes on a BD-25. The AVC encode is sloppy, introducing posterization and some banding. Dark Night of the Scarecrow 2’s video quality is mostly consistent with average definition and a decent contrast. Shadow delineation isn’t bad, showing the few appearances of Straw Eyes in revealing fashion.

Audio

Lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital audio features a few nice sonic treats though nothing is particularly special. It’s a discrete surround mix which does highlight several directional cues for the scarier moments. There’s adequate LFE rumble and fine dialogue reproduction. The score from Joe Stockton is slightly recessed and thin-sounding, poorly balanced at times with the bigger sound design elements.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font. Lossy 2.0 Dolby Digital stereo is also included.

Extras

No significant special features are included beyond trailers. The disc itself claims Region A but the back cover is marked for all regions.

Dark Night of the Scarecrow 2 Trailer (01:43 in HD)

Dark Night of the Scarecrow Trailer (02:32 in HD)

Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things Trailer (03:14 in HD)

2 Little Monsters Trailer (01:59 in HD)

The Feed Trailer (01:55 in HD)

Night of the Bloody Apes Trailer (02:53 in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Dark Night of the Scarecrow 2
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
2

Movie

Some forty years after the cult original classic, this tepid “sequel” goes through the motions with uneven writing and low-budget effects.

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User Review
3 (2 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 49 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray: